The Ridge

Year: 2005
Director: Brett Haley
Cast: Neal Bledsoe, Brett Haley, Lydia Hyslop, Lauren Powell, Jesse Patch

A small throng of twenty-something friends decide to spend a relaxing weekend at an isolated house located near the ridge of a mountain where, as legend has it, a ax-wielding killer named The Ridge Runner went on a murderous rampage years before. The group soon discovers that the the story is unfortunately much more than a legend.

This by-the-numbers slasher film offers virtually nothing new to the genre with the exception of a very unconventional final survivor. For the first forty-five minutes of the film, nothing happens except an attempt at character development via some very awkward and unconvincing dialogue. While the actors themselves aren't necessarily bad, the dialogue they are forced to speak really is not engaging enough to make us care for them, particularly after hearing them interact for such a lengthy amount of time before any real actions kicks in. The plot itself is paper thin and even the background legend of the killer is not all that particularly interesting.

However, even with glaring flaws and several cringe-worthy moments of dialogue, this film accomplishes something that very few slasher films have been able to do recently; it made me jump. More than once. The film has much more atmosphere and tension in the last twenty minutes than it had any right to. Cut the first forty five minutes of the film and what is left is a damn creepy, even scary in some parts, slasher. While the gore is kept to a minimum, the director creates suspense and tension extremely well with camera shots of the isolated house and the surrounding property only to have the killer appear at the most unexpected times. I guarantee watching this film in a dark room with the volume turned up (which it will have to be anyway due to poor sound quality) will give you at least one good jump.

Ultimately, the question becomes is sitting through a long, banal forty five minutes worth the pay off of a few good jumps? I'll leave that for each viewer to determine (those, at least, who don't shut it off before they reach the climax). I will say that the last twenty minutes of the film certainly save it from being a complete failure and actually elevates above some of the recent direct to video slasher trash I have seen.

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